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Links Update Journal / Food TV.Com / All Recipes.com / Martha Stewart / Recipe Index March 2006
Wed, Mar. 15th, 2006 12:33 pm

Wednesday, March 15: Roasting 101

How to Roast

Roasting is one of the easiest and most flavorful methods of cooking. It typically involves cooking in an oven, uncovered, at a high heat without any liquids such as wine, water, or stock. The result for meats, poultry, or fish, is a delicious golden brown exterior; for vegetables, it's a crisp skin. Whatever food you roast will have a moist flavorful interior. In this everyday cooking lesson, Martha explains the basics of the kinds of food and the proper equipment to use for roasting.
What to Roast

Roasting, which typically begins at a higher temperature, creates a crisp skin on vegetables or a browned skin on meats, poultry, and fish. Once crisped or browned, reduce the temperature as necessary and roast until cooked through. A general rule of thumb when roasting: the smaller the roast, the higher the temperature.

Be sure to season well with salt and pepper. This accentuates the natural flavor and sweetness which comes from roasting. When roasting vegetables, cut pieces into uniform size to ensure even cooking.

Some seasonings to use that highlight natural flavors in roasting include:

* Fresh herbs: thyme, chervil, tarragon, and rosemary
* Garlic
* Lemon

When roasting vegetables, fish, or poultry-ingredients that are less fatty than meat-use an oil or moistening agent to prevent burning or sticking, and to impart a richer flavor. For oil and moisturizing agents, you can use:

* Olive oil
* Melted or softened butter

When roasting meats and poultry, baste using juices that have accumulated in the roasting pan. An instant-read thermometer is invaluable, but never let the thermometer touch the bone, or you will get an inaccurate reading. Remove the meat from the oven as soon as the temperature of the roast reaches 10 degrees below the desired final temperature, since the meat will continue to cook out of the oven. Let the meat or poultry rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving so that the internal juices have an opportunity to distribute evenly. Use a conventional rack in a roasting pan to prevent sticking and burning; you may also use a layer of bones or aromatic vegetables placed in the bottom of the pan.

Proper Equipment

A heavy-bottomed roasting pan with strong handles is a worthwhile investment. When roasting meats and poultry, these pans go directly from the oven to the stovetop to make gravy and other sauces using the delicious browned bits that collect at the bottom, also called fond.

Recipes for Roasting

Now that you've learned the essential lessons of how to roast, try your hand at making some of Martha's favorite recipes: Roast Chicken and Roasted Vegetables.

Roast Chicken

One (6 pound) roasting chicken
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 medium onions, sliced crosswise 1/2 inch thick
1 lemon
3 large garlic cloves, crushed, plus 2 cloves thinly sliced
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 sprigs fresh tarragon
1 cup homemade or canned low-sodium chicken stock

1. Let the chicken and 1 tablespoon butter stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Heat oven to 425°. Remove and discard the plastic pop-up timer from the chicken if there is one. Remove giblets and excess fat from the chicken cavity. Rinse chicken inside and out under cold running water. Dry chicken thoroughly with paper towels. Tuck wing tips under the body. Sprinkle the cavity of the chicken liberally with salt and pepper, and set aside.

2. Using the palm of your hand, roll the lemon back and forth while pressing down. Pierce the entire surface of the lemon with a fork. Insert crushed garlic, thyme, and lemon into chicken’s cavity. Gently loosen the skin from both sides of the breast, being careful to not tear the skin; place sliced garlic and tarragon under skin. Place chicken, breast-side up, on the bed of onion slices. Bring the legs forward, cross them, and tie them together using about 18 inches of kitchen twine.

3. Spread softened butter over entire surface of chicken, and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place in oven, and roast until skin is deep golden-brown and juices run clear when pierced, about 1 1/2 hours. Insert an instant-read thermometer into the breast, which will read 180° when done, and then the deepest part of the thigh, which will read 190°; be careful to not touch any bones with the thermometer, which will give you a false reading.

4. Remove chicken from oven, and transfer to a cutting board with a well. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes so juices will settle. Meanwhile, pour pan drippings into a shallow bowl or a fat separator, leaving the onions in the pan. Using a large spoon or fat separator, skim off and discard as much fat as possible. Pour remaining drippings and any juices that have collected under the chicken back into the roasting pan. Place pan on stove, over medium-high heat, and cook for about 1 minute. Add chicken stock, increasing heat to high, and using a wooden spoon, scrape up the brown bits; cook, stirring, until the liquid is reduced by half, about 4 minutes.

5. Strain gravy into a small bowl, pressing down on onions to extract any remaining liquid. Discard onions, and stir in the remaining tablespoon of butter until melted and incorporated. Untie the legs, and remove and discard the lemon, garlic, and herbs from the cavity of the chicken and underneath the skin on the breast.

6. Carve the chicken on the same cutting board using a sharp knife and a large fork. To remove the legs, pull one away from the body; use the knife to find the joint that connects the leg to the body, and sever it. Cut the thigh away from the drumstick at the second joint. To remove the breasts, cut straight down between the breasts, following the contour of the rib cage, until you hit the wishbone. Cut through the joint where it meets the breastbone. Arrange pieces on a serving platter, and serve immediately with gravy.

Note: Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living, September 1997

Related Links:

Perfect Roast Turkey

Crown Roast of Pork

Roast Chatham Cod


Wed, Mar. 15th, 2006 12:27 pm

Tuesday, March 14: How to Marinate

How to Marinate

There are two reasons for marinating food: to impart flavor and to aid in tenderizing. Marinades lend a distinctive ethnic or regional character to meat, poultry, and fish. A classic French marinade might have herbs and garlic; a savory Thai version might include coconut milk, cilantro, and fresh ginger. You can use marinades to enhance the flavors of cheeses, tofu, and fresh vegetables. In this cooking lesson, Martha discusses reasons for marinating food and tells you how to make delicious dishes using creative marinades.

Acid is a basic ingredient found in marinades; it usually helps tenderize the food you are marinating. Acids commonly used in marinades include:

* Balsamic vinegar
* Rice-wine vinegar
* Red wine and white wine
* Citrus: lemon, lime and orange juice

Oil & Moistening Agents

Oil or another moistening agent will help prevent sticking. Useful oil and moistening agents are:

* Olive oil
* Vegetable oil
* Yogurt
* Coconut milk
* Hoisin sauce


Seasonings impart flavors to the food you are marinating. Light, fresh seasonings include:

* Fresh herbs: parsley, cilantro, rosemary, bay leaves, tarragon, and more
* Garlic

For heartier, more intense flavors use:

* Whole spices, such as peppercorns, juniper berries, or coriander
* Dried and fresh chiles
* Fresh ginger

What to Marinate & for How Long

Never marinate food at room temperature for more than one hour. Suggested marinating times for various foods include:

* Steak-6 to 24 hours
* Chicken, lamb and pork-6 to 24 hours
* Thick and fatty fish fillets-1 hour
* Thin and flaky fish fillets-30 minutes
* Shellfish-20 minutes
* Cheese, tofu, and vegetables-30 minutes

Additional Marinating Tips

* Do not use the marinade as a sauce unless you cook it first.
* Marinades are well-suited to the grill, but be careful of possible flare-ups.
* Use a resealable bag or shallow baking dish to contain the marinade for easy clean up.

Recipes for Marinades

Test your skill with the lessons you learned in Martha's Cooking Class on how to marinate; try these three delicious recipes. Each uses a different marinade, but all are based on the essentials: an acid component, distinctive herbs, and a specific length of time. Plus, experiment with other herbs and spices to give added excitement to your marinades; you'll be surprised at the flavor sensations that different combinations yield.

Lemon-Herb Marinated Chicken

Citrus-Soy Marinated Swordfish

Red Marinated Flank Steaks

Curry-Yogurt Marinated Lamb Kebabs


Wed, Mar. 15th, 2006 12:24 pm
Paul Sorvino's Spaghetti with Pancetta and Peas
Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
One (1/2-inch thick) slice pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
12 frozen pearl onions, defrosted
1 pound spaghetti
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Heat oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add pancetta, and cook until fat has rendered and pancetta is browned. Add onions, and cook until softened and browned. Stir in peas, and cook until heated through; set aside

2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; season generously with salt. Add spaghetti, and cook until al dente according to package directions. Drain, and return spaghetti to pot. Stir in reserved pancetta mixture, tossing to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl; serve immediately.

Chicken Cutlets with Paul Sorvino
Serves 6

2 cups Wondra flour, for dredging
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup olive oil, for frying
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups dried breadcrumbs
6 chicken cutlets (about 1 pound) or 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved horizontally and pounded 1/2-inch thick

1. Combine flour with salt and pepper in a shallow dish, and set alongside a shallow dish containing eggs, and another shallow dish containing breadcrumbs, Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working with one cutlet at a time, dredge in flour mixture, dip into eggs, and transfer to breadcrumbs, coating both sides completely. Gently place in hot oil. Cook until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining cutlets. Serve with sautéed broccoli rabe, if desired.

Broccoli Rabe for Paul Sorvino's Chicken Cutlets

2 bunches broccoli rabe, trimmed
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat; season generously with salt. Blanch broccoli rabe until bright green and tender, about 3 minutes.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add garlic, and cook until lightly golden. Add blanched broccoli rabe; season with red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper; toss to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve immediately.

Note: Recipes courtesy of Paul Sorvino


Wed, Mar. 15th, 2006 12:08 pm

Monday, March 13: Suggested Cookbooks and Knives 101

Martha's Favorite Cookbooks

What should you look for in a cookbook? Martha suggests asking friends and family members which cookbooks have been the most successful in their kitchens. Also, cookbooks that contain information about nutrition, instructional illustrations, helpful lists of measures and equivalents, and include some of your all-time favorites are always a smart choice. Below, you'll find a list of Martha's favorite cookbooks.

Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker
Joy of Cooking (Scribner, May 1, 1975)

Julia Child, Louisette Bertholle, and Simone Beck
Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1
(Knopf 40th Anniversary Edition, October 2001)

Julia Child and Simone Beck
Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 2 (Knopf, October 1970)

Marcella Hazen
Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking (Knopf, October 1992)

Elizabeth David
Italian Food (Penguin Books, February 1999)
French Cooking (Penguin Books, February 1999)

Daniel Boulud
Cafe Boulud Cookbook: French-American Recipes for the Home Cook (Scribner, November 1999)

Martha Stewart
Martha Stewart's Quick Cook (Clarkson Potter, May 1992)

Other Suggested Cookbooks

Madeline Kamman
The Making of a Cook (Morrow Cookbooks, 1st Edition, November 1997)

Anne Willan
La Varenne Pratique (Clarkson Potter, September 1989)

Jacques Pepin
La Technique (Crown, December 1976)
La Methode (Crown, November 1979)

Harold MacGee
On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen (Scribner, November 2004)

James Beard
Beard on Bread (Knopf, February 1995)

Knives 101:

Three Essential Knives:

Chef's Knife

Though an eight-inch blade is adequate for an all-purpose knife, a ten-inch one is best. It is important to buy a knife that feels comfortable in your own hand. If your hands are small, you may prefer a narrow bolstered knife that allows the forefinger to perch more comfortably on top of the blade.

Bread Knife

Most bread knives come with a serrated or scalloped edge that saws through both hard crust and soft crumble. The tip curves down, exerting pressure while biting down into the crust. Bread knives are not only used for cutting bread, they are also good instruments for cutting pineapples, melons, tomatoes, and even chocolate.

Paring Knife

A three-and-a-half-inch or shorter paring knife provides flexibility in peeling, cutting, and sharpening fruits or vegetables. Paring knives are great for digging out potato and pineapple eyes and thinly slicing cheese and vegetables.

Proper Storage

Knives must be properly stored to maintain their edges. A wooden drawer tray with slots isolates each blade. If you are storing knives in an open drawer, make sure it is lined with a non-slip material. Also, try using a magnetic strip that hangs just above your countertop-freeing up valuable counter space and making your knives easily accessible. Just be careful that the knives are not in reach of small children.

Sharpening Knives

A knife should also be sharpened several times a year on a stone. A rectangular Carborundum block with medium-coarse and medium-fine grit is most common. Before using, cushion the stone in a damp towel, lubricate it with oil, and point it away from yourself with the short end facing you. Start with the coarse side up; lay the heel of the blade on the bottom right-hand edge of the stone. Holding the knife at a 20-degree angle to the stone, push the blade down the length of the stone, while sliding it sideways from heel to tip. Hold the handle with one hand while guiding the blade with the other. Turn the knife over; repeat, starting with the heel of the blade on the lower left-hand edge of the stone. After ten to twenty swipes on each side, use the fine-grain side to keen the edge.the stone. After ten to twenty swipes on each side, repeat these steps on the smooth side of the stone. Finally, give the blade a few passes over the steel to remove any loose bits of metal.


Chop an Onion

The best way to chop an onion is to slice off the stem ends with a chef's knife, and using a paring knife, peel the skin off of the onion and cut out the root end-which allows the onion to cleanly fall apart. Then, using your chef's knife again cut it in half from top to bottom and place the cut halves, flat side down, on a work surface. Lay an open hand on the rounded side of the onion and push down while making vertical cuts lengthwise, using about 90% of the knife's blade. Make a few horizontal cuts, then chop across the onion to make cubes.

Slice an Onion

Slice off the stem ends of the onion with a chef's knife, using a paring knife peel the skin off of the onion and cut out the root end. Then, use your fingertips as a guide for slicing by tucking them under and holding the food to keep them from getting nicked as you slice horizontally.

Julienne Carrots

Peel carrots, cut into equally sized pieces. Hold chef's knife and cut each piece horizontally, rocking knife from front to back.

Chiffonade Basil

"Chiffonade" refers to very thin strips of lettuce or herbs, such as basil leaves. Stack several leaves, with the largest on the bottom. Roll them up, and thinly slice them from one end of the roll to the other.



Sat, Mar. 4th, 2006 07:22 pm
Snow Scene Chowder

1 chicken bouillon cube
2 cups boiling water
2 cups diced potatoes
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/4 cup onion
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup margarine
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup diced cooked chicken

Dissolve bouillon cube in water; add vegetables & seasonings.
Cover; simmer 10 minutes. Do not drain. Make white sauce
with margarine, flour, & milk. Add cheese; stir until melted.
Add chicken & undrained vegetables. Heat; do not boil.


Sat, Mar. 4th, 2006 07:19 pm
Quick and Lean Chicken Mushroom Stroganoff

2 tsp. vegetable oil, divided*
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
12 ounces white mushrooms, sliced (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
1/4 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill or 2 tsp dried
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
In a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tsp of the oil. Add chicken, and cook until golden brown and cooked through. Remove chicken, cover to keep warm. In same skillet, heat the remaining oil, add mushrooms and onion, cook, stirring constantly, until tender, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, stir in sour cream, chicken broth, and spices. Add reserved chicken; cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.

To serve, pile on top of a plate of rice or egg noodles.

**Tip: you can omit the oil completely in this recipe by cooking with a combination of lemon juice and broth, about 1 tbsp. of each. Thus reducing the amount of fat without sacrificing the taste.


Sat, Mar. 4th, 2006 07:09 pm
Ham and Cauliflower Casserole

1 small cauliflower, separated
1/4 cup cornflake crumbs
1/4 pound cooked diced ham
3 tablespoons chopped green pepper
1/2 cup graded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup grated paremsan cheese
dash of paprika
In a medium saucepan add cauliflower and water. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain, mix together the cauliflower and crumbs. Add ham, green pepper and cheddar cheese. Place the whole mixture in a buttered casserole dish. Top with the sour cream. Sprinkle with paremesan cheese and bake at 325* for 20 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of MomsMenu.com


Sat, Mar. 4th, 2006 06:56 pm
Seven Layer Taco Dip
Submitted by: Sue Case
Rated: 5 out of 5 by 290 members Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Ready In: 30 Minutes
Yields: 56 servings
"I am continuously asked to bring this dip for parties and family get-togethers. People gather around the platter until it's gone. Five layers of Mexican-inspired delights are topped by a layer of vegetables, then smothered in cheese and garnished with black olives. The vegetables may be varied according to taste."

1 (1 ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
1 (16 ounce) jar salsa
1 large tomato, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch chopped green onions
1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 (6 ounce) can sliced black olives, drained
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

1. In a medium bowl, blend the taco seasoning mix and refried beans. Spread the mixture onto a large serving platter.
2. Mix the sour cream and cream cheese in a medium bowl. Spread over the refried beans.
3. Top the layers with salsa. Place a layer of tomato, green bell pepper, green onions and lettuce over the salsa, and top with Cheddar cheese. Garnish with black olives.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2005 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com 3/4/2006


Sat, Mar. 4th, 2006 06:55 pm
Lemon Zucchini Bread
Submitted by: Rebecita
Rated: 5 out of 5 by 36 members Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes Ready In: 1 Hour
Yields: 12 servings
"Lemon zest adds a touch of summer to this sweet zucchini bread!"

1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons lemon zest

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease an 8x4 inch loaf pan.
2. In a bowl, beat together the zucchini, sugar, egg, and oil. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder; stir in the cinnamon and lemon zest. Stir the flour mixture into the zucchini mixture just until blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
3. Bake 45 minutes in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from heat, and cool about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2005 Allrecipes.com Printed from Allrecipes.com 3/4/2006


Sat, Mar. 4th, 2006 06:54 pm
Exquisite Chocolate Mint Brownies

2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate,
1/2 cup butter or margarine,
2 eggs,
1 cup sugar,
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract,
1/2 cup sifted flour,
dash salt,
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch square cake pan. Melt chocolate and butter/margerine over hot water. Beat eggs until frothy. Stir in sugar and chocolate mixture, peppermint extract. Add flour, salt and nuts. Mix thoroughly. Pour into pan and bake 20 to 25 minutes. Cool.
Spread top with thin coating of this mixture: Work 2 tablespoons soft butter/margerine into 1 cup confectioners sugar, 1 tablespoon milk and 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract. Stir until smooth.
Keep covered pan in refrigerator while making glaze.
Melt 1 square chocolate and 1 tablespoon butter over hot water. Mix thoroughly and dribble over cool, firm filling. Tilt cake back and forth until glaze covers surface. Refrigerate at least 5 minutes before cutting and serving.